Sunday, February 25, 2024

Homicides declined nearly 10% in 2022, to lowest rate since 2017

Homicides declined almost 10% in 2022 compared to the previous year but still numbered well above 30,000, according to preliminary data from Mexico’s national statistics agency INEGI. 

Data published on Tuesday showed that there were 32,223 homicides last year, a decline of 3,477 or 9.7% compared to 2021. There were 25 homicides per 100,000 people, INEGI said, down from 28 in 2021. Men were murdered at a significantly higher rate than women, with 44.4 homicides per 100,000 males and 5.8 per 100,000 females. 

President Lopez Obrador of Mexico
President López Obrador praised his security cabinet, which he credited for the improvement in homicide numbers. (Presidencia)

Last year was the least violent year since 2017 based on both the total number of homicides and the per capita murder rate. Annual homicides first exceeded 30,000 in 2017 and have remained above that level ever since. 

INEGI’s data showed that Mexico’s least violent year since 2011 was 2014 with 20,010 homicides. Compared to that figure, homicides in 2022 were up 61%.    

Although violence remains a major problem in Mexico, President López Obrador said Tuesday that the data showing a near 10% decline in homicides last year was “very encouraging.” 

“… We estimate that since we arrived in government, homicides have declined 17%,” he said, adding that a decrease of around 20% over 2018 numbers will be achieved in 2024 if the downward trend continues. 

Number of homicides in Mexico in 2022
The five states with the highest number of homicides in 2022. However, this ranking changes greatly when numbers per 100,000 residents is considered. (Source: INEGI)

“This is a great achievement, it’s the fruit of the work that the security cabinet has carried out every day. The strategy of attending to the causes of violence is starting to yield results, because from the first day of government we started improving the living and working conditions of the people of Mexico,” López Obrador told reporters at his morning news conference. 

INEGI’s data showed that two-thirds of all homicides last year were committed with firearms, while almost 10% were perpetrated with knives or other bladed weapons and just over 7% were the result of hanging, strangulation or suffocation. The type of aggression was unspecified in over 13% of homicides. 

Based on total homicide numbers, Guanajuato was the most violent state in Mexico last year with 4,256 murders. While still very high, that number represents a decline of 1.8% compared to 2021 and 20.7% compared to 2020. 

Homicides in Guanajuato – the majority of which occur in a relatively small number of municipalities – increased significantly in the second half of last decade, after remaining below 1,000 per year between 2011 and 2015, according to INEGI data. Confrontations between organized crime groups, including the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, are the main cause of violence in the Bajío region state.  

Mexico's states with the top five highest number of homicides per 100,000 people in 2022
The top five states with the greatest number of homicides per 100,000 people in 2022. (Source: INEGI)

México state, the most populous of Mexico’s 32 federal entities, ranked as the second most violent state, with 3,226 homicides in 2022, followed by Baja California, with 2,681; Michoacán, with 2,292; and Chihuahua, with 2,016. 

On a per capita basis, the small Pacific coast state of Colima was the most violent entity last year with 113 homicides per 100,000 residents. Mexico’s largest seaport, that in Manzanillo, is located in Colima, and criminal control of the port – a major entry point for fentanyl precursor chemicals from China – is highly coveted by crime groups. 

Zacatecas, home to crime hotspots such as Fresnillo and Jerez, was the second most violent entity on a per capita basis with 87 homicides per 100,000 people, followed by Baja California, with 70; Guanajuato, with 68; and Sonora, with 58.  

Yucatán was the least violent entity last year considering both its total homicide count and per capita murder rate. The state recorded just 54 homicides in 2022, according to INEGI, for a rate of two homicides per 100,000 residents. Data showed that Yucatán has been Mexico’s least violent state every year since 2011. 

The second and third least violent states based on total homicides last year were Aguascalientes with 87 and Baja California Sur with 89. 

Coahuila ranked as the second least violent based on its rate of five homicides per 100,000 people, followed by Aguascalientes, where there were six murders per 100,000 residents last year.   

Mexico News Daily 

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